Feline Friday

Friday, February 20, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

sweatermaxy

It’s super-cold outside, friends. Better put on another sweater. Here’s Maxy, wearing his.

Just finished my latest crochet project, a cat sweater, using free pattern Phoebe’s Favorite Cat Sweater found here. It’s a little small, even for some of the smaller cats. I’d make a few adjustments to the pattern next time I make it, but it really is cute and again it’s free. It also leaves the front arms open, which some cats prefer.

sweatercece

They are still predicting the second week of March will be a little warmer, with temperatures finally above the freezing point, but I’m not holding my breath.

sweaterbobbie

Like this? Check these out:

Cats in Hats

Crochet heart sachets

Crochet Valentine Heart Sachets

Friday, February 13, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

hearts

This year for Valentine’s Day, I put together little care packages for the staff members. The bags included a fizzy juice drink, chocolates and these lime-scented heart sachets. The José Crochet heart pattern is crazy easy, fun and FREE. You can’t ask for more than that; find it here. There are photos with great diagrams as well. They work up quickly…two sides, crochet together with a loop. I can’t recommend the pattern enough. It’s awesome.

hearts1

I should have taken a photo of the bags before I handed them out, but I didn’t. Guess it’s been awhile since I did this. Here’s the last Valentine’s package I put together. I think February is an especially cruel month, and we could all use some random happiness here and there.

We have 34 days until the spring equinox. One to two inches of snow tonight. Next week is supposed to be terribly cold, with temperatures well below the historical averages:

weather

Next predicted day at 40 is March 5.

Crochet Purses and Kitty Blankets

Saturday, January 31, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

pinkkittyblanket

I have a coworker who has a sick kitty. This small cat blanket is crocheted with a J sized hook using Caron Simply Soft. The pink body of the blanket is Caron in soft pink, two strands held together, alternating rows of single crochet and double crochet. The scalloped edging is a single strand, two rows of single crochet followed by the scallop which is sc, skip two stitches, five dc in the next stitch, skip two and then repeat the whole thing. I made a similar blanket for Maxy cat, to put over him while he sits on our laps on the couch in the evenings. He loves it!

purse2

I wanted to make a new purse to replace the brightly colored one (below), as my dress coat for work is more of a maroon color and it clashed terribly. The body of this purse is a mixed grit stitch, while the very bottom, flap and strap are single crochet. It’s made with Loops & Threads Charisma, which is soft and bulky and quite nice to work with, and a size J hook.

purse

To start, chain 26, then single crochet in rounds for six rounds. Next, continue to crochet in rounds, but now using the mixed grit stitch. Crochet as many rows up as you want the height of the bag. At that point, mark each side of the bag with a stitch marker exactly spaced across. On the back side, count four in from your side marker on each side:

diagram

For the flap, I single crocheted across for the first two rows. After that, I did a single decrease on each side of each row until it closed down to where I added the button loop. The strap is single crochet, six stitches wide, and I sewed it on each side using the side markers on the bag for guidance. The mixed grit stitch is tight enough where I don’t need a lining. I’ve already sent it through the washing machine and dryer, and it held up just fine.

bluepurse

This is the previous purse. The start of the pattern is similar to the Moogly Chroma Crochet bag but the top is a flap just like the one above. It’s Cascade Yarns Hollywood in Malibu Blue.

Like these? Check out more crochet projects here:

Crocheted baby set

#12scarvesofxmas

Yellow baby blanket

Crocheted baby set

Friday, January 9, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

Crocheted Baby Set

baby1

I’ve been working on a few gift projects since the holiday scarf set is done. My brother-in-law’s sister just had a baby, and I have a baby shower to attend for a coworker in the next few weeks. Perfect timing to use some baby rippled yarn my sister sent me and to try a few new projects.

In addition to the rippled yellow yarn, I used white Bernat Softee for the hat. Both the hat and booties were made using a G sized hook. The bootie pattern is from here, and although it’s all in French, the photos are enough to show you what you’re doing.

baby2

The hat is as such: chain 4, sl st to join. 13 dc into center, sl st to join. Ch 2. Rows 2-5, dc into the first stitch and two dc into the next, repeating for row, sl st to join and ch 2. Rows 6-13, dc into each stitch, sl st to join and ch 2. You can either end there, or you can crochet rows 14-17 for a turn-up brim. It’s really basic, so you can add in different colors. I had a bit of a weird line from the sl st joining, so I put this flower on to cover it.

I’d say the hat took about two hours, as did the set of booties. Not bad for a nice little gift.

Next, I’m on to crochet a new purse in a more neutral color, and then a dress scarf or two. I still have to work up my special January project to send on, too…details to follow!

Hooked on crochet? Check these out:

#12scarvesofxmas

Purple lap blanket

Favorite crochet links

#12scarvesofxmas

Friday, December 26, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

I don’t know when exactly I decided that I would start the #12scarvesofxmas project, crocheting a scarf for each of my coworkers for Christmas this year. However, I started working on them while I was off with my ACL repair September 16th. The staff members at the shelter are constantly rotating dogs inside and out, and they are always cold in the winter.

Originally I had all kinds of ideas about trying different crochet stitches. But some of the projects took a lot longer than others, so I went pretty simple for most of them.

I did not make my goal to finish them by Christmas. In fact, I’m working on the last one now and should finish it over the weekend. I did photograph all of them, but somehow managed to delete one picture after gifting it. Oops. Picking yarn for each coworker was a fun project. Some of them, I knew immediately what I wanted. Others, I needed to think about for a while.

This basic scarf was crocheted with two skeins of Vanna’s Choice acrylic. It’s a repeating hdc with an N sized hook:

scarf2

This scarf was crocheted with two skeins of Deborah Norville Everyday Soft Worsted. It’s repeating rows of dc:

scarf2

This scarf is two skeins of Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in the color Polo. It’s repeating rows of dc, 31 stitches wide. The yarn is lovely and soft, but make sure you get it right the first time because ripping it out is near impossible without breaking the yarn.

scarf3

This scarf was crocheted with two skeins of Bernat Softee Chunky Ombre Yarn in the color Peas In A Pod. The fringe is some baby yarn I had purchased for another project. It’s a repeating dc with a large hook (N?):

yellowishscarf

This scarf is crocheted with two skeins of Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn in the color Teal Twists. Same repeating dc stitch. The yarn is super soft and lovely to work with:

scarf

This scarf is repeated rows of sc with two skeins of Loops & Threads Woolike yarn (one gray, one navy). Woolike is 85% acrylic and 15% nylon so it has a really nice drape. Knitpicks has this great YouTube tutorial on how to work with two skeins for a striped pattern. This one took forever, M sized hook. Finished this scarf on November 11th.

greynavy

Scarf seven! It’s Red Heart Soft Baby Steps yarn with an M sized hook. Five rows sc, two rows dc with the same yarn, five rows sc, two rows dc with the contrast yarn and so on. It’s soft and it should be warm:

seven

Scarf eight is ten rows of sc followed by two rows of treble crochet, repeated using purple Loops & Threads Woolike yarn on the same old M sized hook. This one is pretty and lacy, and won’t be as warm because of it. More of a dress scarf, I guess:

scarfeight

Scarf nine is Lion Brand Heartland yarn in the color Olympic. It’s repeating rows of dc with the M sized hook. I put fringe on it as well:

nine

Scarf ten is crocheted every other row alternating dc and tc using Lion Homespun thick and quick in the color waterfall on a P sized hook. And this is the one for which I deleted the photo. The yarn was so thick and soft, you couldn’t really see the pattern anyhow.

Scarf eleven was crocheted ten rows sc and one row tc repeating using Berroco Folio yarn in cranberry. It’s 65% alpaca and 35% rayon/viscose.

scarf11

Scarf twelve started from the Moogly Cuddly Cat Scoodie pattern, but I changed it up pretty quick. It’s Lion Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn, dc on a P hook. 123 chains long, four rows for the scarf and then the hood on top of it. I’ll post a picture when it’s complete.

Upcoming projects for the new year include baby items for two different babies, a lap blanket to cover Maxy when he sleeps on the couch, some drink coasters and then some cat hats and sweaters. That’s hats and sweaters for cats to wear. What are your crochet plans for the new year?

Misc. Monday

Friends, it’s been awhile since we’ve had a Misc. Monday post. Can you believe we’re nearing the end of October? I’m trying to pull together my costume for Howl-O-Ween at work with five days left to go. What have I been working on instead of the costume?

scarf3

First, Scarf Three of the #12scarvesofxmas. It’s made with two skeins of Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in the color ‘Polo.’ It’s a very basic double crochet, 31 stitches wide. I started out trying a few different stitch patterns, but my work often requires ripping out and starting over and this is not the yarn for that. Once crocheted, it cannot easily be undone without breaking the yarn. I should be able to finish this one up this weekend. Which means I have eight weeks to finish another nine scarves. Yikes.

ghostsong

Every other autumn, I get the desire to re-read The Mists of Avalon for some unknown reason. Just finished that, and started this book, Ghost Song by Sarah Rayne. Not bad so far.

In other news, I’m working on some small holiday projects that I’m really excited about (including one for everyone’s refrigerator!). I’ve picked out my holiday greeting cards and am mentally writing the update already. If you like vintage-looking cards, you might want to check out Victorian Trading Company.

The chill in the air has me thinking of my favorite cold weather drink of all time, the Salty Maple Buttered Cider featured in Serious Eats. I use Kraken rum because it’s cheap as hell. Sometimes, I don’t have lemon. I don’t put salt on the rim of the glass, but if I’m feeling fancy I do sprinkle salt flakes on the top. Also, sometimes I can’t be bothered with vanilla bean and use extract. But it’s still the same basic concept, right?

Love the song. Thinking about trying out some of his dance moves…

Cuddly Crochet

Thursday, October 9, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

babyblanket

While I was off work, I had hoped to get a ton of crocheting done. This baby blanket took much longer than I expected it would, though. It took two skeins of the yellow Bernat Softee and a tiny bit of a skein of the white Bernat Softee. The pattern is a waffle stitch, with a shell edge using a K sized hook. I love the way it turned out and I really liked the pattern.

I am finishing up scarf #2 (part of the Twelve Scarves of Xmas) right now. Tonight I hope to work in the ends and I am going to add fringe to the bottom of it. It’s a variegated yarn, alternating rows of single and double crochet.

yarn

This (below) is scarf #1. I had high hopes for the yarn, but it didn’t turn out quite like what I wanted with the stitch pattern I was planning. I wound up going for a plain old double crochet.

scarf2

Technically, I have nine weeks to finish ten more scarves. I’m going to have to hustle. In addition to that, I have a special crochet project on the list of things to complete, and my coworker just found out she’s having a baby girl and there’s that. My hand will be a claw by New Year’s Day.

In health-related news, I’m still on crutches. Technically next Tuesday I should be able to drive a vehicle again, but I don’t see the doctor until October 27. I am tired of wearing the leg brace and tired of scooting up and down the stairs on my backside. I’ve been back to work just over a week now. The one thing this surgery has really made me learn is that my upper body is incredibly weak.

More Crochet here:

Lap Blanket

Another Lap Blanket

National Crochet Month

Crochet Love

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

For my most recent blog posts on crocheting, click here.

Last winter, I made a knit scarf on a round loom for Bob. It wasn’t lying flat, so Mom showed me how to crochet edging on it. Little did I know that I would become so addicted to crocheting (resulting in this year, the madness of the Twelve Scarves of Xmas). I’m so lucky that I am learning to crochet in the digital age and I can turn to websites and YouTube for help and instruction. Below are some of my favorite crochet links.

crochetbanner

Moogly Blog

Their tagline says it all: crochet, knitting, world domination. And they’ve got it all…reviews, tutorials, patterns. I’ve made their Chroma Crochet purse twice and it is awesome.

Red Berry Crochet

RBC is doing an awesome 52 weeks of crochet challenge. The projects are really fun.

Ravelry

Everyone is on Ravelry, and there’s a reason for that. It’s a giant community of other people who love what you love. Join and post your projects, keep track of your yarn stash and connect with others.

New Stitch a Day – Crochet Stitchionary

I can’t say enough about New Stitch a Day’s Crochet Stitchionary. Video tutorials for every stitch you’ve ever imagined. Wanting to do something different than the same old double crochet? This is your place to go.

KnitPicks

KnitPicks is a great source for yarn. But they also have some nice crochet video tutorials, including one on how to read a crochet diagram. Very helpful!

Pinterest

So, that’s a link to my Pinterest crochet board (follow me?). But just a simple Pinterest search will reveal so many project ideas, it’s amazing.

 

Happy hooking, my friends.

Michigan Fiber Festival 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

Michigan Fiber Festival 2014

Contrary to the belief of my coworkers, the Michigan Fiber Festival is not a place to bulk up your colon.

michigan fiber fest 2014

Featuring the wool and fiber of alpacas, goats, rabbits and sheep, it is one of the Midwest’s largest fiber festivals, and there were tons of vendors. Mom and I went to the Michigan Fiber Festival 2014 on Friday, August 15.

michigan fiber fest 2014

Held at the Allegan County Fairgrounds, the vendor booths were held in small tents, large tents and barns. In addition to the vendor space, there were also animals there for judging.

michigan fiber fest 2014

I spent quite a bit of time petting the goats.

michigan fiber fest 2014

Mom knits and crochets and was interested in getting into needle felting. She also seemed interested in the looms. I crochet and occasionally needle and wet felt. But I was mostly interested in alpaca yarn for crocheting.

michigan fiber fest 2014

As I expect to have surgery on my knee at some point this fall and should have extra time on my hands, everyone should plan on receiving something crocheted for the holidays.

michigan fiber fest 2014

The amount of vendors is overwhelming. If it’s your first time visiting, I’d suggest you do one solid loop through all the vendor areas first and make notes which ones to go back to before you purchase your items. I wound up picking up some buttons for the purse I was working on, and two skeins of alpaca yarn. So, so soft.

michigan fiber fest 2014

When we finished up at the MFF, we headed up to Crane’s Pie Pantry for lunch. It’s right across from the famous Crane’s U-Pick, in Fennville Michigan. Due to the cool summer we’ve had, the U-Pick was closed as the peaches are not quite ready.

Crane's Pie Pantry Restaurant

Crane’s is a cool little place. There was a line out the door, but it moved quickly. We had unpasteurized cider, a bowl of homemade chili and fresh peach pie for dessert.

Crane's Pie Pantry Restaurant

Here’s a picture of the orchards. The Fennville area is just lovely! After Cranes, we stopped over at Fenn Valley Vineyards & Wine Cellar. We did some wine tasting and picked a few bottles. I did not get any pictures, though.

Crane's orchard

On the way back to Battle Creek, we stopped in downtown Allegan to look around a little. It’s such a nice town.

Allegan

I had to take a picture of the Regent. Fabulous sign!

Regent Theatre, Allegan

It was such a nice summer day! Couldn’t ask for more.

Like yarn? More here:

Crochet lap blanket

Chroma Crochet Bag

National Crochet Month

Recently Completed Projects

Monday, June 16, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

Recently Completed Projects – Lap Blanket

knitpics

I have been working on a lap blanket for a little girl who likes purple. I work with her grandparents through the shelter. It took far longer than I thought it would…crochet hook size really matters.

blanket1

It was a fairly simple pattern…chain 145, turn. sc one, ch one, sc into second stitch. The pattern is nice, though.

blanket

You can’t really see it, but the white has metallic flecks in it so it’s all sparkly. I hope she likes it.

Bon Bon Ring

bonbon
I’ve had the supplies for while to make some bon bon rings, like Julie did in her fantastic tutorial here. I made one up last night. I’ve got enough to make a few more, and will be sending them out as summer surprises.

And here, for your pleasure, is a cat selfie:

selfie

It’s humid today. We did get in a 5k walk this morning, though we nearly died from the heat coming up the hill at the end. Sunny, though. Not going to see a lot of that the rest of the week, I think:

weather